Japan approves additional contribution of USD 4 million to UNDP for Disaster Risk Reduction in Ethiopia

Apr 12, 2013

Local communities are recieving support to develop capacity and move from emergency response to long-term sustainable development

As UNDP and the Government of Japan prepare to mark two decades of development cooperation in Africa this coming June 2013, Ethiopia’s Disaster Risk Reduction efforts has received a boost from additional USD 4 million Japanese financing through the UNDP Ethiopia Country Office.

Japan has continuously demonstrated an unshakable belief in Africa’s potential having met the goals set at the 4th Tokyo International Conference on African Development (TICAD IV) in 2008 to double its total Official Development Assistance (ODA) as well as private investment to the continent.

The partnership between United Nations Development Programme in Ethiopia and Japan has grown effectively over the last decade. For the fiscal year 2012, Japan contributed US$215.3 million towards the UNDP’s work globally from which US$27.5 million will be allocated to Ethiopia and 10 other African countries for various UNDP projects to help strengthen the security sector in the Sahel region. In eight additional African countries the focus of the UNDP projects would be to reduce poverty.

In Ethiopia, the funds are channeled to support UNDP Ethiopia’s projects in the area of good governance and disaster risk reduction, focus areas for the Japanese government. The extensive Disaster Risk Management and Livelihood Recovery (DRR/LR) project, region-wide Africa Adaptation Programme (AAP) and the Africa Center for Peace and Security Training (ACPST) are the current key initiatives that receive Japanese support.

The ACPST is actively contributing to enhance the institutional and human capacity in peace and security management at middle and senior management levels in Africa to effectively prevent, respond to and mitigate conflict and maintain peace and security on the continent. In 2012,  178 participants received ACPST training and were able to enhance their capacity to analysis, application, and implementation of major peace and security instruments in Africa. The ACPST Alumni Network ensures that the experts' knowledge is continuously shared and updated. 

Ethiopia is one of the global green front runners and with its Climate Resilient Green Economy initiative; the country promotes a low carbon development and aspires to build a strong, climate resilient economy. The AAP has played a catalytic role in integrating climate change adaptation into development planning and it has also contributed to the government’s decision to allocate 2 % of its regional budgets for environment. Both the Disaster Risk Management and Livelihood Recovery project and AAP initiatives build climate resilience in Ethiopia.

The Disaster Risk Management and Livelihood Recovery project has facilitated and expedited the ongoing recovery process and building disaster resilient communities.  In 2011 the devastating La Ninã induced drought affected the lives of nearly 1.9 million pastoralists in Southern Ethiopia region of Oromia. In Borena zone, more than 270 000 people lost a significant part of their livestock and required emergency food aid as the drought led to substantial harvest failure, a decrease in water availability, deteriorating pasture conditions and livestock losses. Up to date, the DRR/LR project has provided access to water to 115 500 people in the Borena zone.


When Mr. Naoki Nihei, Programme Advisor UNDP-JICA/Japan, traveled to Ethiopia in March 2013 to monitor and further assess the results and challenges of the UNDP projects in Ethiopia, he observed that, “Rehabilitated small and medium-sized wells, cleared and continuously managed rangeland, and an increased number of livestock are all strong signs of joint efforts with people of the local communities. There is a strong perception of enhancement of resilience and preparedness in these very drought prone communities in Borena.”

The zonal administrator, Mr. Liben Arero, is also very happy with the results achieved. Thanking the Japanese government for the funds, UNDP Ethiopia and the other partners for support, and communities for the implementation, he reflected, “You have done your part, we have done ours, the communities have done theirs and now we are just waiting for God to do his and deliver some rain”. Mr. Liben Arero further explained that effective coordination has been a key success factor in implementing the project activities. UNDP Ethiopia, government officials at national, regional, zonal and district level as well as the representatives of the communities have been working closely together since the inception of the project. A task force was formed to expedite efficient and effective implementation and to ensure transparent and inclusive implementation of project activities.

The objective of UNDP and Japan’s support is to institutionalize the successful community managed disaster risk reduction approach and introduce it to other drought prone areas in Oromia. “Coping mechanisms cannot be built overnight,” underlines Mr. Takele Teshome, the programme analyst and DRR/LR project focal point from UNDP Ethiopia highlighting the need for long-term support to ensure sustainability. With the newly received funds of US$ 4 million from the Japanese government, it will be possible to turn these plans into action shortly.

With the initial contribution from Japan to the DRR/LR project coming to an end, UNDP Ethiopia and its counterparts are already preparing to scale up best practices and document lessons learnt.

Through all these initiatives, Japan’s interventions are benefiting from the advantages brought about through UNDP’s multilateral nature, which conveys its political neutrality, international norms and standards as well as global know-how and knowledge sharing. “Our approach is to help the local authorities and communities develop capacity and move from emergency response towards longer-term sustainable development,” said Ms. Bettina Woll, Deputy Country Director of UNDP Ethiopia.

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